My name is Kim, and I’m a twenty-something, ex-vegetarian, gluten-intolerant, vegetable-loving, creative spirit Lymie living in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I’m a natural health junkie and whole foods, sustainable living devotee. I love to cook, I love to write, I love to share knowledge. I believe in the innate ability of our bodies to heal. I believe in the power of the human spirit. I believe that despite all the sad and nasty stuff going on in this world, there is more beauty and joy than we can ever imagine. And I believe we each have the ability to make choices that ensure health and vibrancy for the future. There’s a lot of life to live, and ultimately we’re each in charge of how we live it.
I was overweight, struggled with persistent acne, eczema, hives, seemingly snowballing food, seasonal, and environmental allergies, constant stomach aches and digestive issues, depression, and nasty, recurring sinus infections. After receiving the first and second Gardasil vaccinations, all these issues seemed to amplify, leaving me debilitated with stomach pain and irregular digestion, suffering rapid weight loss, an absent menstrual cycle, and a host of other symptoms from poor coordination to hair loss, lethargy to vision problems. Since all my blood work, endoscopes, and CT scans came back normal, save some mild esophageal damage from acid reflux, my general practitioner suggested I stop eating acidic foods, and attributed the rest of the symptoms to IBS, stress, my running program, and too much caffeine. She said I was fine. I knew I wasn’t.
As I worked with a naturopath, acupuncturist, and other healing professionals to address Candidiasis, detox from the vaccine, intestinal parasites, heal my gut, and support my whole self, many things improved. I learned how to cook amazing food free of all the allergens that plagued me. I gained back weight, gained back energy, and gained back my sparkle and joy. Health issues I’d had for years – acne, terrible seasonal allergies, eczema – seemed to melt away. But despite so much improvement, I suffered cycles of recurring symptoms regularly. I started developing increasingly severe joint pain, fatigue and headaches. I noticed neurological issues and heart palpitations. I knew something else was still out of balance.
In the summer of 2009, things really started flaring up, and I got more concerned. My cousin had recently been diagnosed with Chronic Lyme Disease, and she expressed concern that my symptoms sounded like Lyme. Frustrated and desperate for answers, I decided to take her advice; I ran a Western Blot test for Lyme Disease through IGeneX, a state of the art testing laboratory for tick-borne illnesses.
A few weeks later, on November 2, 2009, I got my answer. I have Chronic Lyme Disease.
The diagnosis was frustrating, saddening, relieving, and liberating all at once. All those symptoms I had for years actually stemmed from a common issue – a full body infection of B. Burdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme Disease. My test results, health history, and symptomology were a perfect fit; I finally had my answer. I knew the road to recovery would be long and hard, but at least I finally knew what I needed to do to recover. I don’t know when I got bit by the fateful tick. It could have happened on so many occasions; my childhood summers were spent in the Northwoods of Wisconsin, at rustic summer camps, and camping and canoeing with my family. I ran through the woods, lay in the grass, and played in the brush. In college and as an adult I still do the same thing. I’ve picked more ticks off my body than I can count; I guess one got past my nightly tick check.
But really, it doesn’t matter when I got bit. All that matters now is what I choose to do with this knowledge.
In a weird way, I’m grateful for this experience. It has taught me to be mindful, be patient, and have faith in the power of positive thinking. It has solidified my belief that natural healing is possible and attainable. I learned to become an advocate for myself, listen to the deep intuition of my body, accept my own limitations, and nurture the hope that lies within. But it has also been the most challenging, most frustrating, most spirit-testing experience I have ever endured. I’ve been scared out of my mind, and I’ve felt more sadness than I thought possible. I have plenty of bad days that crush my spirit, and I have to pick pieces of myself up, dust them off, and put them back together.
Sometimes I feel really sad and angry, and miss things about the life I once knew. But then I remember that while I’ve left a lot behind, I’ve gained more than I could have ever imagined. I’m still here, and stronger and wiser that ever. I know myself better. I live a richer, fuller life. I am grateful for health and life in a way I never fully understood before, and now truly believe that I deserve to be happy and healthy.
Kim Christensen, Minnesota